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Melissa Phillips: Lionesses must channel ‘winter warrior mentality’ after festive break

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

Melissa Phillips, London City Lionesses
Melissa Phillips, London City Lionesses

In her final press conference before the winter break, London City Lionesses head coach Melissa Phillips reflected on the club’s recent progress and looked ahead to an exciting second half of the season.

London City sit top of the Barclays Women’s Championship, with a record of six wins, three draws, and one loss, and enter the festive season with plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

“There’s been a lot of progress made on and off the pitch for the club,” Phillips said. “If you look at where we started the year to how we finished second in the league. Then, over the summer, we worked really hard to improve the infrastructure of staff and the playing squad to add complimentary pieces [to what we already had].”

Phillips also highlighted the behind-the-scenes efforts that have contributed to London City’s recent success.

Sarah Ewens has found the back of the net nine times since arriving at Princes Park in July.
Sarah Ewens has found the back of the net nine times since arriving at Princes Park in July

“There’s been a lot of other things that you don’t see that adds to the success of the team and where we’re at, but I think the growth has been tremendous over the club’s time and the first three seasons leading up to now,” the American explained.

“It’s just really special to see how far it’s come and the people who are on the ground – both players and staff – put in such hard work day in and day out to get us to where we’re at.”

Phillips, when asked about her mindset for the second half of the season, emphasised the importance of staying in the moment.

“It’s important that we take it one game at a time as we approach the new year,” she explained. “We’ve got three big windows of games coming up in the second half of the season [and] we know the task at hand and the points required to end the season where we want to be.

“Ultimately, you don’t get those points by doing anything other than focussing on the present and where you’re at each week and each game. First up, it’s Portsmouth – which is the magic of the FA Cup and the fun of that. Then, we get straight back into league games and a difficult back-to-back road test with Crystal Palace and Bristol City."

Despite London City’s impressive start to the season, Phillips believes there is still room for improvement as the club seeks to continue its promotion push after the winter shutdown.

“Games come thick and fast and it’s important to stay present,” Phillips added. “It’s important to have a winter warrior mentality about our progress and where we need to be.

“We know that we’ve gotten fantastic results, but I think it’s only scratched the surface of what this team is capable of in the first half of the season. So, there’s exciting games ahead.”

London City Lionesses will return to the pitch in the third round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup on Sunday, 8 January 2023. Don’t wait to secure your tickets: celebrate the new year with football for a fiver at Princes Park.


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